An Australian bushfire - located near Perth in Western Australia - is continuing to rage, and now residents are being forced to evacuate. The fire is continuing to develop, and now many of the city’s residents, even as the city remains in a COVID-19 lockdown, are having to take increasingly drastic measures to protect themselves and their families. For some, this means urgently evacuating their homes, even if they have to break the government’s lockdown regulations to do so.
What is currently happening in Australia regarding this bushfire?
A large bushfire is threatening the safety of residents of Perth. However, as this threat continues to develop, the city of Perth currently remains in a COVID-19 lockdown.
The bushfire first started near Wooroloo, a town near to the city. The authorities were first alerted to this fire on Monday 1st February at 12 noon. In the past few days, the fire has grown rapidly and has spread across the rural hills that are situated around the north-east edge of Perth.
The city is currently immersed in dense smoke, and the sky has been coloured a dark orange.
This situation is unprecedentedly difficult, especially as the local government is attempting to deal with these two threats at the same time. However, Australia has not been impacted by the pandemic as significantly as many other countries have been. As a result, their COVID-19 case numbers remain relatively low.
In order to keep the population as safe as possible, the Australian government has taken the decision to recommend that residents threatened by the bushfires can break lockdown restrictions if the risk of the fire forces them to do so.
According to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the current recommendation is that:
"Whether you are in lockdown or have been personally directed to quarantine for COVID-19, you must do whatever you need to do to keep yourself and your loved ones safe."
The Deputy Fire Commissioner of Western Australia, Craig Waters, has reiterated this statement, and stated that individuals living in a risk area should “do whatever they need to do to look after their own safety and the safety of their loved ones."
How can you keep yourself safe?
The South Australian Country Fire Service has provided detailed advice on how to keep yourself safe if you live in a risk area and create a dependable bushfire plan for yourself and your families. Their recommendations when creating a bushfire plan are to:
- Understand how bushfires spread, their risks, and how they are impacted by external factors (such as climate or the weather).
- Understand that a bushfire can be significantly more dangerous on days where these external factors are present.
- To prepare your property, in order to help make its recovery more likely. This can be done by installing fire defences and clearing the area surrounding your home of any trees, rubbish or vegetation.
- Create an emergency kit, which you can use to help you survive if you need to flee your home at short notice.
- Prepare yourself and your family - both physically and emotionally. That way, you can help your loved ones to keep safe and stay calm.
They also suggest that individuals repeatedly write out this bushfire plan, and practice it a number of times, as this will ensure that this plan helps them to think quickly and survive if they are in a dangerous situation at any point. If you require any help, you can contact the Bushfire Information Hotline by telephone on 1800 362 361. If you are in an emergency, you should call 000.
The importance of wearing a protective mask
One of the most significant dangers that bushfires present is that of the smoke and particulate matter that the fires produce.
One of the most harmful pollutants that are present in wildfires is PM2.5. If you are exposed to PM2.5, these particles can be highly damaging to an individual’s health, and cause both short term and long term effects. These include shortness of breath, diminished lung function, heart attacks and asthma attacks.
It is essential that you protect yourself from breathing in this harmful pollutant. Our specialist range of masks is designed to provide wearers with dependable protection against smoke, pollutants and harmful gases that are produced by bushfires, including PM2.5. At Cambridge Mask Co., we place the utmost priority on the safety of our customers. That is why we are committed to using state of the art filtration technology, that can be trusted upon to protect wearers in situations such as these.
If you would like to find out more about our product range, you can have a look through the Cambridge Mask Co. online store.